Foodie Tuesday is almost here!


Foodie Tuesday has returned! …Except we’re a day late…so we would like to introduce Foodie Wednesday this week!

Fall is here, but not for much longer. In nearly one month winter will have set in, and unhealthy eating & laziness will also be setting in… NOT! Wait a minute……. Just because the months of notorious unhealthy eating are creeping up on us doesn’t mean we have to let all of our hard work with our bodies go to waste. Beginning this coming Tuesday, November 25, we will provide you with yummy recipes for eating healthy throughout the cold months to come.

We wanted to warm you up this week with an overview of some of the fresh, rich in folate, produce our beautiful state of California provides us, in the fall and winter months.  california-dreaming-panoAnd to the rest of the world outside of California, all of these foods still apply to you (but you may have to be a little more creative)!

FYI: We will be using the words folic acid and folate interchangeably, like we explained two weeks ago, folic acid and folate are essentially the same, the difference is how the body recognizes it.

Dark Leafy Greens
-Spinach- 1cup= 263 mcg of folate
-Collard Greens- 1cup= 177mcg of folate
-Romaine Lettuce- 1cupe= 76 mcg of folate
Broccoli– 1cup= 24% of daily folic acid recommendation
Citrus Fruits
-Papaya- 1 papaya= 115mcg of folate
-Oranges- 1 orange= 40mcg of folate
-Grapefruit- 1 grapefruit= 30mcg of folate
Brussels Sprouts– 1cup= 25% of daily folic acid recommendation
Cauliflower– 1cup= 55mcg of folate and approx. 14% of daily folic acid recommendation
Beets– 1cup= 76mcg of folate and approx. 20% of daily folic acid recommendation
Celery– 1cup= 34mcg of folate and approx. 8% of daily folic acid recommendation
Winter Squash– 1cup= 57mcg of folate and approx. 14% of daily folic acid recommendation.

vegetables-to-grow-in-winter-640x360

Now that we are all aware of some of the folate rich produce available in the fall and winter months, we can let the information marinate until Tuesday. Make sure to stay tuned and bring your appetite next week!

Until next time, keep folicin’ San Francisco.

Hi again…!


Hi again everyone! It’s been a while since we’ve last posted, so we decided to start to get back on track. First things first, a warm welcome to all of our new followers and an even warmer hello to our dedicated previous followers. Go Folic! Get Healthy is a nutritional project we have created here in San Francisco. We are all about YOU! Our primary focus is ensuring every female of child-bearing age gets the proper amount of folic acid (according to the NIH an average of 400mcg). Go Folic! Get Healthy is so committed to making sure every female in SF can get adequate folic acid we provide FREE VITAMINS!! Currently you can come to 30 Van Ness, suit 210 during business hours (Monday – Thursday, 1pm-4pm) and we will give you a free bottle of multivitamins.

Folic Acid Awareness Week is January 5, 2014- January 11, 2014 and during that week we will have so many great activities going on in the community, but most importantly that will be the start of your local community clinics distributing multivitamins. Way more convenient, right?!

WHAT IS IT REALLY? What is folic acid?? Folic acid is water-soluble B vitamin, which is important for women to get before, during, and after pregnancy. Folic Acid helps produce DNA and form healthy new cells. The process of creating new healthy cells is inevitably important to a developing fetus.

WHY? Why, you ask. 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned! WHAT THE FOLIC?? So all you women out there who are not planning on having a baby anytime soon and women who are…. Listen up…. Folic Acid is VERY important in helping reduce the number of babies born with neural tube defects. Neural tube defects are defects in the brain or spine of the developing fetus, which ultimately lead to various problems when the baby is born.

So now that we know why us ladies should take folic acid if we get pregnant, let’s talk about the other reasons we want to take folic acid. How many times have you looked in the mirror and wondered when is your hair finally going to grow out of the, not-so-hot-haircut-anymore? Well ladies, fortunately the answer has been right in front of us. Yes, you guessed correctly, the answer is folic acid. Folic acid has shown to increase the rate of hair and nail growth. And speaking from first hand experience here at Go Folic! Get Healthy, we have experienced it ourselves!

So let’s recap… to help prevent any neural tube defects from happening, as well as to expedite your hair & nail growth, a daily multivitamin with 400mcg of folic acid, as well as eating folate rich foods help reduce your chances (or grow longer hair)! You can find folate (the form of folic acid once it gets broken down in the body) in food such as dark green vegetables, beans, and fortified cereals. In addition, a few fruits such as, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, oranges and grapefruit juice also are rich in folate.

Well ladies and gent’s (those of you wise guys who want to ensure their girlfriend, wife, sister, cousin, etc. stay healthy) it’s been a pleasure… This is just the start of many more blogs to come. As we continue to blog we will get more in depth of the specifics of folic acid. If there are any specific questions on folic acid please comment and let us know. Also, if there are any topics in particular you want to know more about, we can also take request for blog topicsJ

Until next time, keep folicin’ San Francisco.

IMG_0171

Why aren’t we all talking about Renisha McBride? Racial Injustice as a Public Health Issue


Go Folic! usually steers clear of controversy.  So why I am writing this post, especially as I am one of only two regular contributors to this blog? As a white woman who is concerned with women’s well-being and who works in the field of public health, I feel compelled to speak out, and to ask my other white colleagues to follow suite.

Who is Renisha McBride?

Renisha McBride funeral coverAt about 2:30 AM on Saturday, November 2, Renisha McBride got into a car accident in her home neighborhood of Dearborn, Michigan. She decided to knock on the door of a nearby house in order to seek assistance.  After being refused help, she began to walk away. It was then that the 70-year old homeowner shot her in the back of the head with a rifle, claiming that he feared for his life.

As many of her advocates have pointed out, if Renisha had been white and the elderly man who shot her had been black, the shooter would have been jailed and the national news machine would have picked up this story immediately.  But Renisha was black, and the shooter was white. It’s Sunday morning now, and this story is getting more coverage in the mainstream press . However, early on, one of the only non-black national news sources to cover the story was Salon.com (thank you, Joan Walsh).

I am a progressive news junkie – a day doesn’t pass when I don’t listen to KPFA, watch the evening news, and peruse the headlines of the New York Times.  The fact that it took almost a full week for me to learn about Ms. McBride’s death – via a Davey D interview on Hard Knock Radio with filmmaker Dream Hampton – says much about the state of racism and racial injustice in America.

Theodore Paul Wafer, the man who used such force when he shot Renisha that her family was unable to hold an open casket funeral, cited Michigan’s “Stand Your Ground Law” as justification, claiming that he was afraid for his life. How can one be threatened by an unarmed teenage girl who is walking away from you?  It is certainly beyond me to understand.  There can be no justification for what happened.

Why write about Renisha McBride on a health blog?

Within public health circles, it is well known that African-American women are two to three times more likely than white women to give birth to babies that are born too small (low birthweight, or less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces) and too early (preterm, or at less than 37 weeks of pregnancy). These health disparities continue to impact the health of black women, men and children throughout the life course; poor birth outcomes predict infant mortality, as well as other adverse outcomes, from child disabilities and asthma to adult cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

When first presented with these statistics, I assumed that poverty (certainly a result of racism) was to blame.  It was overwhelming to learn that even black women who are well-educated and financially successful – in other words, women who I count among my friends and colleagues – experience poor birth outcomes at two to three times the rate of their white peers.

Why do these disparities exist, even after socioeconomic status is taken into account?  As Jason Silverstein so eloquently documents in a recent article in the Atlantic Monthly, “Racism is Bad for Our Bodies.” Living in a world where one not only experiences discrimination, but also must ready oneself to experience it on a daily basis creates a constant state of stress that a growing number of studies have shown to increase the risk of everything from depression, to hypertension to breast cancer to infant mortality. As Mr. Silverstein points out, the problem is so pronounced and so so serious that two prestigious journals – The American Journal of Public Health and The Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race – dedicated entire issues to the subject.

What is a white woman’a role?

In her interview with Davey D, which you can listen to in the KPFA archives, Dream Hampton states that white women have an obligation to confront our own racism and our own fears of black people.  I suspect that many of us who work in public health would maintain that in embracing the “fight” against health disparities, we have already done so.

black dad and babyIs this actually the case?  In my fields – reproductive and Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health (MCAH) – black men are usually excluded from conversations (and program funding), even though for the majority of women, they are one half of the equation.  Even worse, black men are frequently demonized as the perpetrators of violence against black women.

These beliefs clearly reflect the racial narrative that is woven into the fabric of white American culture and media, in which people who inhabit black or brown bodies are portrayed as criminals, as slaves, as victims, but rarely as full human beings.

Black folks are not a cause…

Recently, I was asked to join a community advisory board for a project that is addressing race-based health disparities.  During our first meeting, members were asked to state why we were interested in the project.  Almost every white woman at the table, myself included, said something about her commitment to “The Cause.” However, black members’ responses were women far more personal, as women talked eloquently about their own experiences and/or the real life impact of racial injustice on the health of people that they loved.

I thought about my own response long after the meeting.  Intuitively, I knew it was wrong, but couldn’t put my finger on why, despite how deeply troubling I found it.  When I sat down to write this post, it hit me – I had turned black women into a cause, an act that is every bit as dehumanizing as acting on other racial stereotypes can be.

“It’s the Skin We’re In”

We cannot escape the skin we’re in, no matter our color.  But those of us who are white can afford to ignore its consequences.  In a study that was initially published in the January 2009 issue of the Maternal and Child Health Journal, black women of all socioeconomic backgrounds reported racism experiences during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood and vigilance in anticipating future racism events.

The “cause” of racism I can walk away from when I leave my office if I am white. It is much more difficult to walk away from racism when I understand a problem as affecting colleagues and people I love on a daily basis.

Were I to have a daughter of Renisha’s age who found herself in the same circumstances, I would want her to be able to seek help, in whatever neighborhood she found herself.  Living in a world where one must constantly fear for one’s own life or the life of one’s children, can only intensify the health impacts of discrimination.

As one protester in Detroit pointed out to a Voice of Detroit Reporter, “I have a twelve-year-old daughter. I don’t want to hear this kind of news about her. We have a Black President, but it is still open season on us. I’ve been working since the age of 14 and have three college degrees, but people still stereotype me, following me around as I’m shopping.”

It is incumbent upon all of us who work in the health field and are white to support our black sisters and brothers in their fight to ensure an end to this “open season” on black folks of all ages.  We must make repealing “Stand Your Ground” laws and “Stop and Frisk” policies a matter of public health.

Before that, If we genuinely want no more Oscar Grants, no more Trayvon Martins, no more Jack Lamar Robersons, no more Jonathan Ferrells, and no more Renisha McBrides, we must confront the racist, irrational fears we hold of both black women and men. (Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine can be good place to start). We must refuse to feel comfortable with or to support media portrayals of black men and women as criminals, victims, or causes, and examine our motives in wanting to help.  We must listen to and acknowledge the stories that black folks tell about their experiences of racism.  And we must invite our other white friends and colleagues to do the same.

In Closing

________________________________________________________

Shivaun Nestor, Go Folic! CoordinatorWritten with great respect,
Shivaun

Thoughts? Differences of opinion?  Please comment, remembering that we reserve the right to moderate and expect that people discuss issues with respect.

Halloween Preconception Health Tip! Love Your Teeth


Healthy Halloween Teeth?

Healthy Halloween Teeth?

October is National Dental Hygiene Month, which is sponsored by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA).  So it only seemed logical to focus on oral health for our last post of the month.  Yes, today’s post is partially inspired by the candy that is so tempting during and directly after Halloween, not to mention the beautiful sugar skulls that are part of Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations.  But it’s also inspired by the importance of dental health for moms-to-be, both before and during pregnancy.

Sugar Skull

Click on the sugar skull for a traditional sugar skull recipe.Why is dental health important for women who might or want to get pregnant?

Brushing, flossing and regular cleaning is important for all women since problems with your teeth and gums can affect the health of your entire body. It’s even more important before and during pregnancy, including for these reasons:

  • Gum disease and other dental problems can affect the health of a pregnancy,  increasing the risk for both having a baby early (preterm) and giving birth to a baby that is too small (low birth weight).
  • The changing hormone levels that occur with pregnancy can actually make some dental problems worse.
  • If a woman’s mouth is healthy before and during pregnancy, it’s likely that her baby will be born with a healthy mouth too.  

Tips for Better Dental Health

Here are some dental health tips from Every Woman California.

  • Visit a dentist at least once a year, or as often as the dentist recommends, for cleaning, exam and protective treatments, such as fluoride and dental sealants.
  • Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and a soft toothbrush at least two times every day, especially before bed.
  • Floss your teeth every day.
  • Limit foods and drinks containing sugar to mealtimes only. Don’t drink juice, soda or carbonated drinks, including diet soda, between meals. Juices and sodas contain sugar that can cause tooth decay (cavities). Even diet sodas contain acids that can weaken the outer surface of your teeth.
  • If you use chewing gum or candies, choose brands that are sugarless. Those containing xylitol are best and can help protect your teeth. Xylitol can actually help decrease the amount of harmful bacteria in your mouth that cause tooth decay.
  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco products.

What should you do if you don’t have dental insurance?

Despite the fact that a healthy mouth plays an important role in overall health, the Affordable Care Act doesn’t include dental coverage.  And dental care can be very expensive. Fortunately, if you live in San Francisco, there are many sources of free and low-cost dental care, and the San Francisco Health Plan (Healthy SF) does cover some services.  Click here for a recently updated list of low-cost dental providers from the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

How do you brush your teeth?

According to the ADHA, brushing and flossing regularly is the best thing that you can do to keep your mouth healthy.  Are you doing it correctly?  The video below provides a great “how to.” For more tips, click here to go to the ADHA website.

Weekly Round-up: Women’s Health News 8.9.13


Volunteering is good for your healthCould Being a “Do-Gooder” be Good for Your Genes? The “Good News” is yes!  We now know that our health is only partially inherited and that our environment can turn genes “on” or “off,” something referred to as gene expression. Recently, researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles analyzed the genes of 80 healthy adults whose happiness came from either living a purposeful life or from self-gratification. Those whose happiness came from living a meaningful life had healthier genetic expression in their immune cells and lower levels of inflammatory gene expression. In other words, their immune systems were stronger and they had lower levels of inflammation, which can lead to chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.  Click here to learn more.  Want to do your body good?  Check out Volunteer Match.

Trying to get pregnant?Should you spend money on antioxidants if you’re trying to get pregnant? Maybe not.  A new review of 28 supplement trials conducted by researchers at the University of Auckland, New Zealand found no evidence that taking antioxidant supplements will improve women’s chances of getting pregnant. Researchers also found only limited information about potential dangers associated with taking antioxidant supplements, such as miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. Only 14 of the 28 trials reviewed looked at harmful effects. However, those trials that did look at potential harm found that the risk was no higher in women taking antioxidants than in those who received a placebo or standard treatment.  Click here to read more.

Have questions about whether you should spend money on supplements?  A new NIH blog post provides the answer.Should You Take Dietary Supplements? Speaking of supplements, a new post in the National Institutes of Health “News in Health” August newsletter takes a look at taking vitamins, minerals, botanicals and more – when they are beneficial and when you might be wasting your money. Among those supplements the article supports taking? Folic acid for reproductive-age women, of course! The article is available at http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/Aug2013/Feature1

Photo: Mother and daughter holding handsPutting HPV Cancer Prevention on Your Back-to-College Checklist Almost all sexually active people get HPV at some point in their life, but most never know they have been infected. Each year in the United States, about 17,000 women get cancer that is linked with HPV, and cervical cancer is the most common.  The CDC now recommends that all girls and boys get vaccinated against HPV by the age of 13.  Unfortunately, CDC data indicates that vaccination rates in girls aged 13-16 failed to increase between 2011 and 2012.  To learn more, visit the CDC’s “Back-to-School” campaign page.  While there, read Jacquelyn’s story, who is a mother of two and cervical cancer survivor.

Can some women skip surgery for breast irregularities?Can Some Women Safely Skip Breast Surgery?
A new study published in the journal Radiology finds that certain lesions probably won’t progress to cancer. The study involves two breast conditions – atypical lobular hyperplasia (ALH) and lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). According to one of the researchers, Dr. Kristen Atkins, Associate Professor of Pathology at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, women with either condition should be followed closely. This might involve repeat imaging every six months, or yearly mammograms with supplemental MRIs or ultrasound. Click here to access the study.
USPSTF releases new HIV testiing guidelinesNew HIV Screening Recommendations Include Pregnant Women and Youth
The US Preventive Services Task Force has updated its recommendations for HIV screening to include pregnant women and everyone ages 15-65.  The recommendation also calls for health providers to screen younger adolescents who are at increased risk for HIV.  The recommendation for pregnant women includes “those who present in labor and whose HIV status is unknown.”  To read more, go to www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org

 

Weekly Round-Up: Women’s Health News 8.2.13


Our top story this week involves the number of young people who report experiencing dating violence – more than 1/3 of U.S. teens and young adults, according to a new study from the Center for Innovative Public Health Research in San Clemente, California.

one in three youth have experienced dating violenceSurvey Finds that 1 in 3 Young Americans Has Suffered Dating Violence
More than one-third of U.S. teens and young adults say they’ve suffered abuse during dating and about one-third say they’ve been perpetrators of abuse, new research finds. About one-quarter say they’ve been both an abuser and a victim.  These are the results of a new survey conducted by researcher, Michele Ybarra at the Center for Innovative Public Health Research.  She and her colleagues surveyed 1,058 young people, ages14 to 20. Intimate partner violence is associated with poor school performance, poor self-esteem, depression and thoughts of suicide.  It also increases the risk for unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections through reproductive coercion (partner messing with your birth control or pressuring you to get pregnant or have unprotected sex).

plastic water bottles are among the products that contain BPATrying to Get Pregnant?  Avoid BPA, a Chemical in Plastics
A Harvard study reported this week that Bisphenol-A, or BPA, a common chemical in plastics, may hurt fertility. BPA, which is often found in products like water bottles  and food storage containers, has previously been in the headlines  due to concerns  over its long-term safety.  However, this is the first study to look at how it harms human ova (eggs), the female sex cell.  Researchers fround that exposure to BPA caused  a decrease in the percentage of eggs that matured, an increase in the percentage of eggs that degenerated,  and an increase in the number of eggs  that went through spontaneous activation —  when an egg acts like it’s been fertilized,  but it hasn’t been.  To learn more about the study, click here.

don't get a tattoo over a mole or birth mark as this may make it harder to detect a beginning skin cancerTattoos Can Hide Malignant Melanomas, Experts Say
While not exactly reproductive health news, enough of us on the Go Folic! staff have tattoes that we wanted to share this study. Our most important take-away? When choosing where to put a tattoe, avoid moles and birthmarks – the ink in tattoes can make it difficult to see changes that could be a sign of skin cancer. Read the whole study here.

Weekly Round-Up: Women’s Health News 7.19.13


From new treatments to gonorrhea to the role of birth control in improving maternal and child health, it was a week full of promising health news for women. Read on!

gonorrhea bacteriaBreakthrough in Treating Gonorrhea
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gonorrhea is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the United States with an estimated 800,000 gonorrhea infections per year.  An increasing number of these cases involve a strain of the bacteria that is resistant to current antibiotic regimens.  However, a recent trial conducted by the CDC and the National Institutes of Health found that two new antibiotic regimens using existing drugs could be effective in treating this resistant strain.  This is exciting news since untreated gonorrhea, which can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), is one of the leading causes of infertility in women. Visit the CDC newsroom for more information.

A healthy mom and her toddlerContraception Key To Decreasing Maternal, Child Deaths, U.N. Panel Says
The World Health Organization estimates that a woman dies from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes every 90 seconds.  Now, according to a United Nations report released this month, improving access to contraception should be a key element in efforts to reduce maternal and child deaths.  In one of our favorite sayings, Family Planning = Healthy Women = Healthy Families = Healthy Communities. To read more, see this article in the Los Angeles Times‘ “Science Now” reports.

teengirlsCalifornia’s Teen Birth Rate Continues to Drop
Over the past 20 years, California’s teen birth rate has dropped from a peak of 70.9 per every 1000 girls, ages 15-10 in 1991 to a low of 28.0.  California state attributes the decline to an aggressive multi-pronged approach that includes comprehensive sex education in high schools, community-based programs that promote parent-child communication about sex, and services and support for pregnant and parenting teens.  We believe that another contributing factor is the State’s commitment to increasing teen access to family planning services. To read the press release, click here.

Good news for HIV+ women who want to get pregnant!
A new National Institutes of Health (NIH) study found that the anti-HIV drugs recommended for pregnant HIV+ women do not appear to increase their children’s risk for language delay. Read more…

birthcontrolpillsWhy do some women get pregnant on the pill?
Amanda Mascarelli tackled this question this week in the Washington Post’s Health & Science section.  She started looking for the anser after getting pregnant twice while on the pill.  While most on-the-pill pregnancies occur due to missed pills, a small percentage of women will get pregnant even when using the method correctly.  The other women?   Read how her research lead her to switch to the IUC here.